Is Luster Returning Tothe Indy 500?
The 2012 edition of the Indianapolis 500-mile race appeared to replace some of the luster that has been fading since “the split.” Some positive signs include:
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*. A good crowd estimated as low as 200,000 and as high as 300,000. The IMS never releasesattendance figures but there areabout 252,000 seats.
*. Pre-race pomp and circumstances were well orchestrated and in fitting with long-standing tradition while honoring our military and Dan Wheldon.
*. Dario Franchitti was a popular winner although a few fans thought that he caused the Takuma Sato crash.
*. Three female drivers attract more female fan attention. Katherine Legge even had an allfemale pit crew.
*. New cars for 2012 resulted in more side-by-side racing and more passing. There was a record 35 lead changes among 10 drivers.
*. While Chevy engines dominatedthe road course races and Indy qualifying, Honda did their homework and tweaked their power plants for increased performance and better gas mileage to win Indy.
*. Twenty-four foreign drivers increased world-wide attention to the event. The internet was alive with tweets from fans in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, France, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela. Also saw tweetsfrom Russia and North Dakota.
*. Interesting to watch the live TV coverage while following the liveinternet feed of selectable in-car cameras and live timing &scoring.
*. Also interesting to monitor the tweets from fans in the stands, pit crews, sponsors and celebs during the race. Drivers were active tweeters after the race.
One low note was the failure of Mike Conway’s pit crew, owner A.J. Foyt and IndyCar officials to prevent Conway from leaving the pits with a damaged car. It resulted in a spin and crash that took out Will Power, the IndyCar series points leader. And, what’s up with turn #1? Three drivers (Andretti, Carpenterand Sato) lost control when they dipped below the white line in turn one. Congratulations to Dario Franchitti, Ashley Judd and the Target Chip Ganassi team for winning the Indy 500. Look for even closer racing during the rest of the IndyCar season and look for more teams to attempt qualifications at Indy in 2013. Look for more of the luster to return to IndyCar and the Indy 500.